The advent of the Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo's latest portable gaming platform and one that supports full 3D without the dorky looking glasses, is upon us. The device is out March 27 so now is as good a time as any to sit down, have a large cup of cafe mocha with extra whipping cream and revise what we know about the platform at large and why you - or at least gamers-on-the-go - might be interested in investing in the Nintendo 3DS.
So what exactly separates this SKU from all previous DS models? For one, unlike previous models where changes have been mostly superficial, the device features an entirely brand new processor and GPU, higher screen resolution, an accelerometer and gyroscope. The top 3D display comes in at 3.53 inches with a resolution of 800 x 240 pixels, with each eye seeing 400 x 240 pixels, thus the 3D effect. The bottom screen remains as a 3 inch touchscreen with a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, still noticeably higher than previous DS models (256 x 192 px).
The 3DS also features both front and rear cameras with 0.3 MP sensors. More importantly, there are two rear cameras, enabling 3D photo taking. In addition, to compliment this is the capability to run AR, short for augmented reality, software. The 3DS comes with six AR cards and all you have to do is point the camera at it for some interesting effects. An interesting piece of software built into the 3DS is a little something called Face Raiders, a game where you snap photos of faces, turning them into targets of a wacky shooting game.
The 3DS boasts even better connectivity performance with Street and Spotpass working to keep players connected wherever they go. StreetPass will continue to send and receive information automatically about people around you who also own a 3DS. Spotpass allows you to link up with a wireless network, be it a WIFI hotspot or your home network, so you can easily download new updates for your software. All of this works in the background or while your 3DS is in sleep mode, constantly keeping you up-to-date. Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime announced at GDC this year that Nintendo and AT&T have partnered up to provide players with free AT&T hotspot connections with the 3DS later this May.
In addition to these features is the support for MP3 music files, via Nintendo 3DS Sound, a built-in software that enables you to record and edit sounds captured by the device's microphone. You can play back songs directly from the SD card and it also supports StreetPass, giving you the skinny on what is currently popular among the people around you.
Well, that's enough about the hardware. Let's get on to the more important bits: the games. There will be 13 games available at launch and these include the likes of Asphalt 3D, LEGO Star Wars III, Nintendogs + Cats, Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D, Pilotwings Resort, Rayman 3D, Ridge Racer 3DS, Samurai Warriors Chronicles The Sims 3D, Super Monkey Ball 3D, Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Shadow Wars and Splinter Cell 3D.
In addition, Nintendo has quite the backing with big name publishers Konami, Capcom and more, developing hits like Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3DS and Resident Evil. There's also Tecmo Koei's Dead or Alive Dimensions and Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (and also titles from the Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest franchise), all of which are planned to see release before June this year. On that note, we have yet to touch on Nintendo's first party titles, a number of which include remakes of classic hits like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Mario Kart, Paper Mario and Starfox 64. Kid Icarus: Uprising was also announced last year at E3 to much hullabaloo.
The Nintendo 3DS hits stores on March 27 and retails for USD$249.99 in North America and for a wide range of prices over in Europe, with Amazon offering quite the discount, selling the 3DS for as low as £187.